The ‘national language’ debate that had actors Ajay Devgn and Kiccha Sudeep at loggerheads on Twitter has gained momentum, with many artistes from south Indian film industries coming out in support of the Kotigobba 3 (2021) actor.
Recently, Sudeep had said at an event: “Hindi is no more a national language. They (Bollywood) are struggling (to find success)”, objecting to a film of his being called a “pan-India” film. Devgn replied to the same with a Hindi tweet that said: “If Hindi is not the national language, then why are south films being dubbed in Hindi. It was, is and always will be our mother tongue and national language”.
Coming out in support of the Makkhi (2012) star, actor Suraj Gowda said, “We should get our basics right. India is a country known for its unity in diversity. We respect every language and no single language will make sense to be the national language. There is a reason why our currency embodies all our languages. I think Sudeep sir made it quite clear when he said what would the situation be if he’d typed in Kannada. Expect senior actors like Ajay Devgn to speak more responsibly.”
Echoing a similar stance, actor Shwetha Srivatsav said, “As entertainers, we have a huge responsibility of representing our language, nationality through our work and our brand/name; our thoughts and opinions influence our society. I agree with Sudeep sir, we love good films no matter which language it is made in; it is an Indian film. It is high time we accept that Hindi and English are our country’s official languages, and not our national language.”
Sudeep’s response led to many pointing out the factual inaccuracy about Hindi being called the national language by Devgn, one such being actor Shine Shetty. “Hindi is not our national language. For a senior actor like Ajay Devgn to make such a statement is not right, because it is not factual. I am very proud of the stance that Sudeep sir took and the way he handled it; no one could have done it better. I believe such fights should not happen. At the end of the day, we are all working for Indian cinema. The only reason we dub our films in other languages is to expand our reach and audience base. There are more Hindi-speakers globally than there are regional language speakers, but even then, Hindi films get dubbed in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, etc. Why? Because they see potential in audiences here. It is the same when we dub our films in Hindi,” he reasoned.
Asserting that all film industries are one unit, actor Adivi Sesh said, “We are all Indians first. We are not competing with industries. Together, we are one industry. Hindi is the most widely spoken language in India and therefore, the most convenient to communicate. Officially, it’s important to remember that our Constitution has not given any language a national status.”
Actor-director Giriraj BM went on to point out that Devgn’s mother tongue is, in fact, not Hindi. “His mother tongue is Punjabi… We all come from different backgrounds, but we’re working towards the same thing. This agenda of one nation one language is being pushed upon us due to politics.”
The Twitter stir between the two actors also led to an outpouring of opinions on social media, with many expressing their dismay over the ‘national language’ claim made by Devgn. Actor Divya Spandana tweeted, “No- Hindi is not our national language @ajaydevgn. Your ignorance is baffling. And it’s great that films like KGF, Pushpa and RRR have done so well in the Hindi belt- art has no language barrier. Please enjoy our films as much as we enjoy yours- #stopHindiImposition”. Actor Sathish Ninasam’s tweet read, “For ten years your Hindi cinema has made money in Kannada, now our Kannada movies have set in there. Like us, you respect us, our language. Hindi is never our language. Our voice is our voice.”